Frequently Asked Street Pad


Q: What compound is best for my application?

A: This is highly dependent on the vehicle and expectations of the customer. Please refer to Compound Selector tool to assist you in your decision.

Q: Does Hawk Performance have a part for my vehicle application?

A: We are constantly developing new applications but check out our Part Search tool to find the parts that will fit your vehicle.

Q: Where can I find an authorized distributor of Hawk Performance brake pads?

A: Please check out our Dealer Locator page here.

Q: Can I run cross-drilled or slotted rotors with Hawk Performance brake pads?

A: Yes, you can. Our pads pair very well with our Talon rotors, which depending on your vehicle application come in cross-drilled or slotted only variations, but our pads can be used with other brands as well.

Q: Why should I follow a break-in procedure on new brake pads?

A: Correct brake pad break-in (bedding) is important to ensure quality braking performance over the life of the pad. This procedure allows the rubbing surface of the brake pad to be brought to temperature, creating a transfer-film layer of friction material to be applied to the rotor surface. This allows the brake pad material to rub against itself rather than the bare rotor. This increases the stopping performance of the brake pad and can reduce pad and rotor wear.

Q: How do I break-in my new pads?

Refer to our How To section.

Q: What can I do during installation to ensure my brakes won’t squeal?

A: First, choose Hawk Performance high performance disc brake pads as your upgrade over other aftermarket brake suppliers. The next best steps you can take to avoid having noisy brakes are:

  • Turn / machine the rotors (machining off a small layer of the brake rotor to make it smooth again)
  • Wash and dry the rotor to rid of debris
  • Install the pads securely and according to instruction
  • Properly bed-in the pads according to instruction
  • Apply a thin layer of a silicone compound called anti-squeal brake lube on the back of the brake pad

There are literally hundreds of reasons why brake noise occurs and most have nothing to do with brake pads. Improper installation, brake system maintenance, rotor quality and debris tend to be the most common causes.

Sometimes brake squeal can be an indicator that there is a problem. Maintenance is required if you experience brake squeal for any of the following reasons:

  • Lack of friction material (brakes need to be replaced)
  • Loose fitting brake in the caliper
  • Loose fitting or missing brake hardware (i.e. shims, anti-rattle clips)
  • Loose lug nuts or caliper hardware
  • Debris caught between the rotor and the surface of the brake pad
  • Heat-cracked or worn rotors
  • Uneven finish on resurfaced rotors

In some cases, a user may experience brake noise when no maintenance is required. We call these NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness) issues.

Brake squeal is typically caused by vibration between the brake pads, rotors and brake calipers. Some brands of semi-metallic brakes are more likely to experience brake squeal due to the metallic ingredients in the brake pads. Hawk Performance has a great reputation for manufacturing low-noise, high-performance brake pads. All Hawk Performance products have a severe duty powder coat surface treatment and “GearHead Grease Paks” to greatly reduce the risk of brake noise. Below are the instructions for proper use of our “GearHead Grease Paks.”

1. To quiet brake noise – Apply 1-2 grams on the backside of the brake pad and evenly spread across the surface making sure to cover any areas where the pad contacts the caliper or piston.

2. To lubricate calipers – Clean and inspect all brake caliper parts making sure to inspect for damage or excessive corrosion. Apply to pins, slides, bushings, pistons, rubber sleeves and seals. DO NOT APPLY TO THE ROTOR FACE OR THE BRAKING SURFACE OF THE PAD!

Caution: For eye and skin contact, flush with water for 15 minutes. Wash skin with soap and water; call a physician if irritation persists. If swallowed do NOT induce vomiting; call a physician. KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN.

frequently asked motorsports pad


Q: What are racing brake pads made from?

A: Racing brake pads are made from a variety of ingredients like metals, resins and fillers. The combination of ingredients and the size and weight of the ingredients used in the friction formula can create very different performance levels and characteristics.

Q: What can happen to my brake pads if not bedded properly?

A: Proper break-in will assure that small amounts of heat are introduced to the brake pad. Brake pads that are brought up to temperature too fast and not properly allowed to cool down may quickly become glazed and not perform as originally intended. The pad’s rubbing surface reaches extreme heat levels during racing use. The surface needs slow temperature increases to help prepare the pad. Large amounts of heat all at one time can cause the brake pad rubbing surface to become somewhat liquefied and coat the pad surface with a glaze. This will dramatically reduce stopping performance as certain ingredients in the friction compound breakdown and cause glazing of the rubbing surface of the brake pad. Bed in procedures can be found here.

Q: How can I tell by looking at the brake pad if my pads have been glazed over?

A: When a brake pad glazes over, the friction surface develops a cloudy or glassy looking coating. It is possible to remove the glazed surface by using sand paper to grind away the damaged layer and expose a new layer that will require the proper bedding procedure.

Q: With all the different brake compounds available today, how do I make the proper choice of what to use on my racecar?

A: Choosing the proper brake pad compound that will provide the best performance for your Motorsports application can be made easier by following the guidelines outlined below, or check the Compound Selector tool.

  • Determine what compounds and styles of brake pads are available for your calipers and type of racing.
  • Determine the operating temperature of your car’s brake system. Heat sensitive paint can be applied to the brake pads and rotors to help you gauge temperature. Tire pyrometers can be used, but due to the cool down time the temperature numbers may not be accurate.
  • Upon learning your system’s temperatures, or if you do not know your temperatures, contact Hawk Performance at 1-800-542-0972 for recommendations regarding proper brake material for your application.
  • Other drivers that share your driving style will sometimes provide valuable information that may allow you to learn what brake pads other drivers have used and liked or disliked.
  • Contact your local racing products dealer and inquire as to what brake pads they offer and recommend for your application.
  • It’s important to understand different types of racecars, racing surfaces and driving styles may require different levels of braking performance, and many drivers expect the brake system to have a certain feel that suits their individual needs. Because of this, it should not be assumed that what works for one driver would work for all. In some cases the best way to learn what is best for you is to experiment with a variety of friction compounds to determine how a particular pad differs from another regarding issues such as pedal feel, consistency and rotor and brake pad wear.

Q: What are some noticeable signs that I have made the wrong pad choice for my Motorsports racing application?

A: When a friction compound is used in a substantially higher temperature range than intended, the material can quickly lose its ability to perform correctly. Generally, an overheated brake pad will continue to provide a hard pedal feel but require more foot and pedal effort to achieve even marginal performance. Continued use during this type of circumstance can result in complete brake pad failure.

Q: What happens if I choose a brake pad compound that does not have a high enough temperature range for my application?

A: It’s important to understand the chain of events that take place when a brake pad becomes too hot to work correctly. As the pad begins to lose performance effectiveness the driver may try to compensate by pushing harder and longer on the pedal. This may cause friction surface temperature to increase thereby increasing the brake problem. When this occurs, great stress is put on the friction material and the material can begin to crystallize. In extreme cases delaminating between the friction material and the pad’s backing plate can sometimes occur. This type of situation may be corrected by choosing a friction compound designed to withstand higher temperature.